How to Wash Fresh Chicken Eggs (Should You?)

Having chickens means you will get fresh eggs. Sometimes those eggs will be dirty and you will have to spend time washing chicken eggs.

fresh dirty eggs in chicken nesting box
fresh dirty eggs in chicken nesting box

Since chickens are not the cleanest animals on the planet, you will get dirty eggs. Needless to say, you will need to know how to wash fresh eggs.

But, what is the best method for washing them? How do you safely clean them? Does it really matter?

Do I Have to Wash My Chicken Eggs?

There’s a lot of conflicting information out there about whether or not you need to wash your chicken eggs.

Some say that the eggs are already clean when they’re laid, so there’s no need to wash them. Others argue that you should always give them a good wash before using them. So, who’s right?

There is no need to wash the eggs themselves before cooking them. Chicken eggs have a natural protective coating called the bloom that helps to keep out bacteria.

When you wash an egg, you remove this bloom, which can allow bacteria to enter the egg through the pores in the shell.

Additionally, eggs that are washed are more likely to crack during cooking. For these reasons, it’s best to simply give your hands and surfaces a good scrub before handling chicken eggs.

That said, you may need to wash your chicken eggs if they are particularly dirty or if you are selling them. More on this below!

What is the Bloom?

Let’s start by thinking about the freshly-laid eggs. When the chicken lays the egg, it is laid with a protective layer over the shell called the bloom.

This bloom protects the developing chick from outside bacteria entering in and destroying it. This is nature’s way of keeping the egg fresh. Washing chicken eggs will remove this protective bloom.

Wet Washing Chicken Eggs

The best way to wash eggs is to scrub them with warm water and a gentle soap. Abrasive cleansers should be avoided, as they can damage the egg’s protective coating.

Once the eggs are clean, they should be rinsed with warm water and dried thoroughly. If not used immediately, eggs should be stored in the refrigerator.

To extend their shelf life, you can coat them with a thin layer of mineral oil. This will help to prevent moisture loss and keep the eggs fresh for longer.

Why You Shouldn’t Use Cold Water to Wash Chicken Eggs

Washing chicken eggs with cold water is a common practice, but it may not be the best way to clean them. Cold water can cause the eggshells to crack, allowing bacteria to enter the egg.

Once the egg has been cracked, it is difficult to remove all of the bacteria, even with thorough washing.

In addition, cold water can cause the egg whites to solidify, making it difficult to remove all of the dirt and debris.

As a result, it is recommended that you wash chicken eggs with warm water instead. The warmth of the water will help to loosen any dirt or debris, while also helping to prevent the eggshells from cracking.

In addition, using warm water will help to ensure that all of the bacteria are killed before you eat the eggs.

Washing Chicken Eggs With the Dry Method

The best way of “washing” chicken eggs is by using the “dry” method. This is often done by using a fine grit sandpaper that has been gently used to remove dirt and manure from the egg.

You want to use the finest grit you can find. Too rough, and it can open the shell and allow bacteria in. Gently rub back and forth until the dirt is gone.

You can also use egg cleaning cloths. They are useful for smaller flocks that may have trouble keeping nesting boxes clean.

In most cases, you can also clean an egg just by scraping the debris off with your fingernail.

Messy nesting boxes were more of a problem when we had smaller tractors for our coop, versus the larger barn type of coop.

Keep These in Mind When Washing Chicken Eggs

If you decide to wash your chicken eggs, you need to refrigerate them. Otherwise you do not.

Keep These in Mind When Washing Chicken Eggs

  • If the shell is cracked in any way, it is best to not use the egg. Compost completely.
  • If the shell remains greatly discolored after washing, it may be best to feed the egg (cooked) to your dog or cat.
  • If you wonder if you have fresh eggs, do the float test. Place it in a tall bowl of cool water. If it sinks to the bottom laying flat, it is fresh. If it “tilts” on its side, but remains on the bottom, it is safe to use only if cooked thoroughly first. If it “bobs” on the surface of the water, compost the egg. Do NOT feed it to your animals, as it may not be safe.

How to Store Chicken Eggs

If you want to store your farm fresh eggs for awhile, and they are not that dirty, it is best to leave them be until you are ready to use them. This is especially true if you store them on the counter.

The bloom will remain intact, protecting the egg. If you wash the eggs off with water, you will want to put them in the fridge to store them.

This is because washing chicken eggs will remove the bloom, leaving the porous shell open to bacteria entering. It’s best to use this method to wash eggs before cooking.

Keep the Nesting Boxes Clean

The best way to help keep the egg fresh is to make sure the nesting boxes are kept as clean as possible. That may mean adding fresh bedding and removing soiled materials from nesting boxes weekly, or even daily.

Our chickens used to try and roost in the nesting boxes. The would drop manure in them all night long.

When the chickens would roost for the night, we would cover the nesting boxes. This kept them from trying to roost and poop where they laid their eggs. Setting up a specific chicken dust bath area will also keep them clean.

How to Keep Eggs Clean in the Future

Keeping chicken eggs clean is important for both the quality of the eggs and the health of the chickens. Here are some tips.

1. Keep the Nesting Boxes Clean

The best way to help keep the egg fresh is to make sure the nesting boxes are kept as clean as possible. That may mean adding fresh bedding and removing soiled materials from nesting boxes weekly, or even daily.

Our chickens used to try and roost in the nesting boxes. The would drop manure in them all night long.

When the chickens would roost for the night, we would cover the nesting boxes. This kept them from trying to roost and poop where they laid their eggs. Setting up a specific chicken dust bath area will also keep them clean.

2. Collect Eggs Often

One of the most important things you can do to ensure clean eggs is to collect them often. If you leave eggs in the nest, they will become dirty and may even crack.

Not only will this reduce the quality of your eggs, but it will also make them more difficult to clean. So make sure to collect eggs as soon as they are laid.

3. Discourage Hens From Sleeping in the Nesting Boxes

One way to discourage hens from sleeping in the nesting boxes is to provide them with a comfortable roosting area in the coop.

This can be as simple as creating a perch made of 2x4s or installing a commercially-available roosting bar. The key is to make sure that the roosting area is comfortable and accessible so that the hens will want to use it.

Once the hens start using the roosting area, they should be less likely to sleep in the nesting boxes, resulting in cleaner eggs.

4. Check Vent Areas on Chickens – and Clean if Needed

The vent area on a chicken is the opening where the waste leaves the body. The feathers around the vent can become soiled with dirt, poop, and dried up pee.

When this happens, it can cause the eggs to become dirty as they pass through the vent.

In order to keep the eggs clean, it is important to check the vent area regularly and clean it if needed.

The best way to clean the vent area is to use a warm, wet cloth to gently wipe away any dirt or debris. If the vent area is especially dirty, you may need to use a small brush to remove all of the build-up.

Once the vent area is clean, dry it off with a paper towel or cloth. By taking these simple steps, you can help ensure that your eggs are always clean and safe to eat.

5. If the Eggs Are Soiled, Clean Them ASAP

If eggs are left in a dirty environment, they can become tainted with bacteria which can cause illness if consumed.

They can also develop manure stains, which are unsightly to look at. It is therefore advisable to ensure that eggs are clean before they are put away or used in cooking.

6. Clean the Coop Often Too

As any chicken farmer knows, cleanliness is essential to producing quality eggs. Not only do dirty conditions promote the spread of disease, but they can also lead to stains and other blemishes on the eggs themselves.

For this reason, it is important to clean the coop on a regular basis.

Depending on the size of the coop and the number of chickens, this may need to be done daily, weekly, or monthly. The most important thing is to remove all manure and other waste from the coop on a regular basis.

7. Place Roosts Higher Than Nesting Boxes

Roosts are perches where chickens sleep, and they should be placed higher than nesting boxes. This helps to keep eggs clean because hens typically roost before they lay eggs in the morning.

If roosts are too low, there is a risk that eggs may become soiled when hens jump down from their perches.

In addition, roosts should be placed far enough away from nesting boxes so that hens cannot accidentally kick dirt or bedding into the box when they enter or exit.

8. Put Roofs on Nesting Boxes

One way to help keep the eggs clean is to put a roof on the nesting box. This will help to keep the waste out of the nesting box and make it easier to collect the eggs.

This will help to prevent the build-up of bacteria and keep the eggs safe for consumption.

Fresh Eggs Shelf Life

How long fresh eggs keep will depend on whether or not it’s protected by its bloom. When the bloom remains intact, fresh eggs shelf life is longer.

When the bloom is washed away, fresh eggs shelf life is shorter. Washing chicken eggs can make them go bad within days on the counter. Storing it in the fridge will help it to last up to 2 months.

Gathering eggs at least daily will help your fresh eggs stay fresh as well. They won’t have to be sitting out in the coop in extreme temperatures. Fresh eggs can freeze in winter, and the summer heat can cause them to age faster.

Should I Wash My Eggs if I Sell Them?

The answer to this question depends on a number of factors, including the regulations in your state or province and the methods you use to collect and store your eggs.

In general, however, it is not necessary to wash eggs before selling them.

For this reason, it is generally recommended that eggs be washed only right before they are used for cooking or consumption.

two eggs in muffin trays

If you are selling your eggs to customers who will be washing them before using them, then you may not need to wash them first.

However, if you are selling your eggs to customers who will not be washing them, then you may want to wash them before selling them in order to help ensure their freshness.

You should also be sure to collect and store your eggs in clean, sanitary conditions in order to minimize the risk of contamination.

Should I Wash Store-bought Eggs?

According to the USDA, storebought eggs do not need to be washed before being used. This is because commercially produced eggs are cleaned and sanitized at the facility where they are collected.

However, it is still important to handle eggs carefully, as they can become contaminated with bacteria such as salmonella. If you choose to wash your eggs, be sure to use clean water and a gentle soap.

Avoid using any harsh chemicals, as these can damage the egg’s natural protective barrier. Dry the eggs thoroughly before storing them in the refrigerator.

Final Thoughts

If you have a soiled egg that you want to use right away, you can run it under cool water to remove any manure. The easiest way is to gently run the egg under the water, smooth the towel over the dirt, and gently wipe away.

Did you know how to wash farm fresh eggs? What method do you prefer to use for washing chicken eggs? Be sure to pin this for later!

15 thoughts on “How to Wash Fresh Chicken Eggs (Should You?)”

  1. Hi Heather! I knew about the bloom on eggs and not having to refrigerate them until washed, but how long can you keep them before they spoil? Thanks! Dixie

    1. There are a lot of thoughts on this, to be honest. In my experience, eggs age very fast at room temp and I have had them go “bad” in a month’s time. That’s in the warmer summer months in my non a/c kitchen. I am sure that is due to the constant heat and humidity flucuations, though. Many believe eggs will last on the counter for 9 months or longer, but I will opt for use them up within a week, or stick them in the fridge to help retard spoiling.

    1. true…but my understanding is that once an egg is cold it needs to stay cold. This is helpful for cold winter climates 🙂

  2. I have layer hens and have to travel quite far to sell my eggs, what can I do to keep my eggs fresher for longer periods of time. Can someone please help me.

  3. I use a vinegar rinse on my eggs then dry and refrigerate. This makes them nice and clean and ready to share with other family households. Is this ok?

    1. I don’t know that vinegar is necessary, but as long as you refrigerate them after washing, they should be fine.

    1. Heather Harris

      As in how to wash them first? If I am hard cooking them, I just rinse quickly with water in the sink before putting in the boiling water or in the solar oven.

    2. I steam eggs in a large pot with a vegetable steamer basket. Once boiling, time for 10 mins. They peel MUCH easier this way. ?

    1. Heather Harris

      typically, the fresher they are, the less air pocket they have. That air pocket makes it easier to peel the hard boiled egg.

  4. As long as you add the eggs to boiling water and then transfer to ice water to cool, they are usually easy to peel. I only have trouble occasionally peeling one and I use fresh eggs every time.

  5. Good morning this side is very hot so at times egg get spoiled and when you break the shell the eggs appear like they have been cooked. How do I prevent bcoz I can not to collect them from the farm daily bcoz of the distance.

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